- Overall winner: Wild Oats XI, Bob Oatley, NSW
- Line honors: Wild Oats XI, Bob Oatley, NSW — 1:18:23:12
Leading the pack from the starting line was five-time line honors winner Wild Oats XI, which last year lost out to Investec Loyal, now sailing as Ragamuffin Loyal, in the line honors competition. As the race leaders turned right into open sea, Wild Oats XI was maintaining its lead followed closely by Ragamuffin Loyal.
Ragamuffin Loyal's start was marred when it crossed the starting line early, but the boat was not called back to restart on the line. It was not immediately known how this would affect the boat's standing.
By 7pm, six hours after race start, Wild Oats XI remained in the lead followed by Ragamuffin Loyal, Lahana, Ichi Ban, Black Jack and last year's overall winner Loki.
The race, also known as Australia's Bluewater Classic, starts in Sydney on Sydney Harbour and ends in Hobart, Tasmania, in the Derwent River.
The course is some 630 nautical miles (1170 kilometres) in distance but the boats, due to sailing characteristics and maneuvers, actually cover a longer distance. A number of yachts generally fail to complete the course due to adverse weather conditions or mechanical problems. A number of race deaths were recorded in 1998.
The quickest time the course had previously been sailed was one day 18 hours 40 minutes and 10 seconds, a record set by Wild Oats XI in 2005.